Doctors at the Orlando Regional Medical Center said some victims of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting are still "critically ill"

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated June 14, 2016 12:25 PM
Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty

Trauma surgeon Dr. Michael Cheatham of the Orlando Regional Medical Center said at a Tuesday press conference he expects the death toll from Sunday’s mass shooting to rise.

Currently, six patients are in critical condition, Cheatham said. Of the 44 victims initially admitted to the hospital, Cheatham said 27 patients are still in ORMC’s care. The six “critically ill” patients are in the hospital’s intensive care unit; five are in guarded condition, and 16 are stable, he said.

“No patients have succumbed to their injuries since the initial nine patients that came to us at the time of the shooting,” Cheatham said, advising of the six critically ill patients, “One or two of those six I would consider to be profoundly ill.”

He cautioned, “I would not be surprised if we see the death toll rise.”

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He said that if those patients do survive, there will be “lasting impact in regard to functionality.” The doctor wouldn’t note specifics, but said paralysis was not the issue.

“There were a number of victims that sustained gunshot wounds to the head, those victims were unable to get out of the club,” he said, adding, “We did get one patient here that did sustain a gunshot wound to the head and he is currently in the intensive care unit.”

Chatham said Pulse’s proximity to ORMC helped those injured survive because they were able to be quickly transported.

“This was the largest disaster that we probably could have imagined,” he said, as he stood at the podium alongside the rest of the trauma and surgical team. “We went ahead and we implemented the plan that we had designed over the years and perfected through practice, and I think it worked.”

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Forty-nine people were killed in the Sunday morning attack, which took place during the gay nightclub’s Latin night. The shooter was fatally shot by police.

“It was singularly the worst day of my career and the best day of my career,” Dr. Chadwick Smith said at the press conference. He praised the staff, who, he said, were called at 3 a.m. to come in. “‘This is not a drill, this is not a joke, we have 22-plus gunshot wounds coming in, I need you here as fast as you can.’ And every time the answer that I got was, ‘I’ll be right there.’ “